Tuesday, June 27, 2017

My Letter to Hon'ble HRD Minister/Chairman (NCERT) Prakash Javadekar today

Mr. Prakash Javadekar,
Minister for Human Resource Development
Government of India
New Delhi

June 27, 2017

Dear Prakash Javadekar ji,

As we meet for the 54th General Council meeting of the NCERT, it is important that we use this opportunity, not merely to discuss administrative issues, but engage on the core function of NCERT - the creation of textbooks for millions of students who are studying in schools across the country. At the outset, let me congratulate you for initiating the process of reviewing the textbooks in all subject areas and specifically seeking suggestions from the teachers in this regard.

Textbooks have often been changed with the change of governments. As new governments come in, they critique the earlier books. However, the tragedy of our education system is that these critiques are only ideological. Some governments bring in left-wing academicians, others bring in right-wing academicians and they criticize textbooks and curriculum on ideological grounds. However, this ideological battle ignores the very person who needs to be at the centre of this debate: the child.

The Government of NCT of Delhi has been strongly committed to improving the quality of government school education. As an Education Minister I have personally interacted with hundreds students in the past two years, talking to them, visiting their classrooms, seeing their notebooks, discussing their curriculum and textbooks. I think it is important to review our textbooks from their perspective. We need to move beyond the dichotomy of left and right and bring the child to the centre of our discussion. I believe that the NCERT books need to be reviewed from the following perspective:

  • Is the textbooks child friendly across all stage? In other words, does it help children build on their own life experiences in their quest for learning? 
  • Are these books appropriate for the children’s existing learning levels? Is their language child-friendly? 
  • Do these books attract and interest children? In other words, do children look forward to picking it up and reading on their own as curious reader to know or understand some interesting phenomena or events? 
 I could have constituted a committee to examine the textbooks and come up with answers to these questions. But I choose to take different route. Over the last few months, I have personally read the textbooks published by NCERT, particularly the ones prepared for students of Std 1 to 8. Have met close to 200 school teachers in different groups, hundreds of students in different government schools and detailed sessions with about 20 teachers who have been teaching students of Std 6 to 10 in the government schools of Delhi for the period ranging from 3 to 20 years. In this process we closely examined the textbooks of Hindi, English, Maths, Natural Science/Environmental Science and Social Science.

Before sharing our observations on the points that we have raised above, let me also tell you the extent of the usage of these books in government schools of Delhi. We have 1024 schools run by the Directorate of Education, Government of NCT Delhi. The authorised textbooks in our schools are the ones published by NCERT. For Std 1 to 8 having about 7.5 lacs children, the Delhi Bureau of Textbooks publishes and distributes the books prepared by NCERT. About 7 lacs students enrolled in Std 9 to 12, purchase the books published by NCERT directly from bookshops using the financial assistance provided by the government.

We reviewed these books (particularly the ones for Std 3 to 8) subject wise and our detailed inputs are enclosed. However, the excerpts of our analyses are as follows:

  1. Overall upto Std 5, the books attempts to strike connect with children but from Std 6 onwards it becomes extremely text heavy. 
  2. Except for the book “Social and Political Life” (Saamajik Evam Rajnaitik Jeevan) in Social Science it is not clear at times whether the book is for children or their teachers. Are textbooks intended for teachers to teach from? Are they intended for reading aloud in the classroom? Are they intended for students to read before they come to the classroom? Or after they have been taught the lesson? I believe that we need to re-think the purpose of our textbooks. I believe that we need to re-think the purpose of the textbooks. 
  3. In the light of the evidence available through Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) of last many years which points that more than 40% students in Std 6 cannot read a text of Std 2 level, is it appropriate to design the books with so heavy texts? Our own baseline survey done by the teachers in July 2016 of their students in Std 6 of the Government schools of Delhi found that 74% students could not read a paragraph from their own textbooks. Under these circumstances, is it appropriate to design a book where the text is organised in double column with single space and small font size making the page look extremely dense. Science textbooks starting from Std 6 onwards is precisely like that. The very design of the textbooks excludes a large segment of children in our classroom.

Contrary to the intention of having an interaction with a child, the tone in the Science textbooks from Std 6 to 8 is very directional leaving little scope of any dialogue. The language in Hindi medium books is extremely difficult and uses words that even you and I would not understand easily, let alone children who are struggling with basic reading skills. The heavy language creates a scenario of exclusion of these children from gaining any knowledge on these subjects, and they are left with no choice but to memorise the information in the books. This difficult language the chain of thoughts for the child and therefore the complexity of language comes in the way of understanding the scientific concept. Meaning of the scientific term along with illustration on the same page where it is mentioned would better serve the purpose rather than giving it at the end of the chapter.


In Mathematics, there seems to be an information overload. The activities are lost in detailed instructions. The emphasis seems more on algorithm to arrive at the right answer. All questions in the textbooks require children only to use the algorithm, rather than connect mathematics to their live. Building from concrete and connecting it with abstract is missing therefore it becomes difficult for the child to find any relation between the mathematics in her daily life with the one presented in her book. The very approach to mathematics needs to change; to first connect it with the child’s life and then take it towards abstract concepts.


English is not the first language of most children in our schools. In most cases, there is very little scope for the child to hear English other than those during the English period. Despite this, activities on listening and speaking are largely missing from the textbooks. Further, the writing task in primary grades textbooks is without visual or verbal clues. Text in the upper primary class books are not contemporary hence the child finds it difficult to establish connect. Many stories have difficult vocabulary and complex themes.


Hindi textbooks, particularly those for Std 6 to 8, the choice of text assumes that by the time children come to upper primary classes they can read text whether narrative or informative quite fluently. However, if that is not the case than the text, due to varied form of languages in different prose and poetry comes in the way of child understanding. For example, there are many stories related to Gandhiji’s life that would be of interest to children and that can communicate the desired values to them but the choice for Std 7, “Ashram Ka Anuamanit Vyay” leaves the child to deal with items which are not in use anymore and calculation of cost with little clarity on what it seeks to teach.


Social Science comes across as a vast subject having three textbooks in upper primary classes- Social and Political Life, Geography and History. I would like to compliment you on the quality and creativity of the ‘Social and Political Life’ (SPL) textbooks. Many other textbooks need to learn from these SPL books, especially its attempts to relate the subject with the world around the child. In terms of design, the textbook of SPL looks the most interactive with several examples. However the examples, instead of being illustrative for the child are mentioned as exhaustive or so it turns out to be. For example, in the textbook of Std 6, page 99 the there is a question to the child to state the nature of inequality faced by a charter in the textbook. This promotes rote learning and does not encourage the child to critically reflect on inequality that she/he encounters in their own life. Out of all the Social Science textbooks, the one’s which seem most child-unfriendly are the geography books- being content and concept heavy, without any attempts to relate the subject to the life of the child. In Std 7, the chapter “Hamari Prithvi ke Andar” several information related to the interior of earth is explained in just three pages. These are pure facts and the way it is presented leaves no option for the child to just cram it and reproduce in exams. One small size map is used to illustrate several phenomenon. History textbook is the most overloaded in terms of content, of all the three in Social Science subject. In Std 6 itself there are 12 chapters. There are too many cross referencing across different chapters. The Std 7 textbook covers the content which is taught in two full papers in the undergraduate degree in Delhi University. Towards the end of chapter it says, “Aao Phir Se Yaad Karen” (Let us memorise again). This approach reiterates the fact that history can be learnt only by memorising key dates and events.

These are some of the examples. Please refer the enclosures for more detailed analyses.

We are sharing our inputs with you with the expectation that the next series of NCERT textbooks would be significantly better than the current series. We would like to suggest that at the beginning of each chapter or topic, the objectives of teaching that topic/chapter, how it connects with the previous topics/chapters and what learning outcome is sought to be achieved by teaching that should be stated. This approach might help you in determining what should be included and what should be left out.

Delhi government conducted an extensive exercise where 24,000 teachers were involved in the creation of supplementary material, ‘Pragati’, that attempts to overcome the shortcomings in the textbooks, as felt by the teachers themselves. I am also including some sample copies of ‘Pragati’, for your reference, as to how textbooks can be made more engaging and child-friendly.

I hope you find our inputs useful and we look forward to next edition of the NCERT textbooks that caters to the emerging learning needs of today’s children.


Manish Sisodia
Deputy Chief Minister and Education Minister

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

स्कूल निरीक्षण पर फर्जी नाम व हाजिरी सामने आए: जांच के आदेश दिए

चुनाव और बच्चों की परीक्षा के कारण काफी दिनों बाद स्कूल के औचक निरीक्षण पर गया। आज आलोक भारती सीनियर सेकेंडरी स्कूल, खुरेजी खास का इंस्पेक्शन करने पहुंचा। ये सरकार से सहायता प्राप्त लेकिन प्राइवेट स्कूल है। बच्चों से बात की तो पता चला कि यहां भी सिक्योरिटी गाड् र्स, ड्राइवर्स, ठेली वाले, मजदूरों इत्यादि के बच्चे पढ़ते हैं। प्राइवेट मैनेजमेंट होने के बावजूद इसकी हालत सरकारी स्कूलों से भी खराब थी। मुझे दुख होता है कि गरीब बच्चो को पढ़ाने के नाम पर हम इन बच्चों के भविष्य के साथ ही खिलवाड़ नहीं कर रहे बल्कि देश के भविष्य के साथ भी खिलवाड़ कर रहे हैं।
टीचर्स के हाजिरी रजिस्टर पर फर्जी हाजिरी या बच्चों के फर्जी दाखिले दिखाकर किताबें, यूनिफॉर्म, स्कॉलरशिप लेने का धंधा यहां खुलेआम चलता दिखा। सारे तथ्य विभागीय जांच के बाद सामने आएंगे।
सबसे हैरानी और दुख देने वाली बात ये थी कि छठीं क्लास की हाजिरी रजिस्टर में सिर्फ 12 बच्चों के नाम थे। इनमें से भी 10 बच्चे पिछले पूरे साल स्कूल नहीं आए। इन बच्चों का दाखिला फॉर्म निकलवाकर जब पैरेंट्स से बात की तो पता चला कि एक बच्चा पिछले 4 साल से प्राइवेट स्कूल में पढ़ रहा है। एक और बच्चे के पिता ने बताया कि इस स्कूल में दाखिले के लिए फॉर्म तो भरा था लेकिन स्कूल ने दाखिला देने से मना कर दिया था। स्कूल के कागजों के मुताबिक ये सारे बच्चे इसी स्कूल के छठवीं क्लास में पढ़ते हैं। आश्चर्यजनक बात ये भी थी कि जिन पैरेंट्स से बात हुई उन सबके बच्चे पास के एक प्राइवेट स्कूल में पढ़ते हैं। सारे मामले की सघन जांच की जरूरत है। मामले की जांच के आदेश दे दिए हैं।  

Monday, January 16, 2017

टीचिंग शाॅप की अनुमति नहीं

दिल्ली के सरकारी स्कूलों में नये कमरे बनने, इंफ्रास्ट्रक्चर सुधरने, टीचर्स और प्रिंसिपल्स की ट्रेनिंग, प्रिंसिपल्स के अधिकार बढ़ाने, मेंटर टीचर्स, मेगा पीटीएम, समर कैंप आदि के बाद सुखद परिवर्तन देखने को मिल रहे हैं। इसकी शुरुआत बजट बढ़ाने से हुई थी। आज दिल्ली देश का एकमात्र ऐसा राज्य है जो अपने बजट का एक चौथाई हिस्सा (24 परसेंट) शिक्षा पर खर्च कर रहा है। हालांकि अभी सरकारी स्कूलों में बहुत काम होना बाकी है। माहौल और सोच को बदलने के लिए काफी कुछ किया जाना बाकी है।
दिल्ली में स्कूली शिक्षा का एक पहिया प्राइवेट स्कूलों के सहारे चल रहा है। सरकारी स्कूलों में शिक्षा के नाम पर लंबे समय तक होती रही रस्म अदायगी के बीच क्वालिटी एजुकेशन देने का काम कुछ अच्छे प्राइवेट स्कूलों ने किया। क्वालिटी एजुकेशन को बनाये रखने के लिए मैं हमेशा कुछ प्राइवेट स्कूलों की भूमिका की प्रशंसा करता रहा हूं। शायद यही वजह रही होगी कि पिछले 30-40 वर्षों में जनता की अरबों रुपये की जमीन कुछ प्राइवेट स्कूलों को एकदम मुफ्त में या लगभग मुफ्त में दी गई।
अगर ये जमीन स्कूलों को न दी जाती तो संभवत: यहां सरकारी स्कूल ही बने होते। दिल्ली में करीब 300 स्कूल ऐसे हैं जिन्हें जनता की अरबों रुपये की जमीन इस आशय के साथ दी गई कि उस जमीन पर अच्छा स्कूल चलेगा तो आसपास के इलाके में रहने वाले लोगों के बच्चों को अच्छी पढ़ाई मिलेगी। अच्छा स्कूल बना भी। चला भी। लेकिन आसपास के बच्चों को एडमिशन देने की शर्त हवा में खो गई। हालांकि इन 298 स्कूलों को जमीन देते वक्त एलॉटमेंट लेटर में ये शर्त स्पष्ट रूप से लिख दी गई थी कि ये स्कूल नेबरहुड के बच्चों को एडमिशन देने से मना नहीं करेंगे। लेकिन फिर भी वर्षों तक इस शर्त को नजरअंदाज किया गया। इन स्कूलों में दिल्ली के बहुत से प्रभावशाली लोगों के बच्चे पढ़ते हैं। अमीर से अमीर लोग यहां अपने बच्चों का एडमिशन कराने के लिए लाखों रुपये का डोनेशन देते हैं। प्रभावशाली लोगों का वरदहस्त और एडमिशन फीस के रूप में मोटी कमाई के अलावा मुझे कोई और वजह समझ नहीं आती कि इन स्कूलों को सरकारी जमीन तो दी गई, लेकिन जमीन देते वक्त एलॉटमेंट लेटर में लिखी शर्तों को फाइलों में दबाकर रख दिया गया। पिछले दो साल में जब से मैंने इन फाइलों को झाड़ना शुरू किया है तो कई और दिलचस्प पहलू भी सामने आए हैं। यहां तक कि सुप्रीम कोर्ट के स्पष्ट दिशानिर्देशों के बाद भी जमीन एलॉटमेंट लेटर में लिखी शर्तों को लागू करने की जहमत नहीं उठाई गई। 1997 में स्कूलों को मुफ्त जमीन आवंटन पर सवाल उठाते हुए सुप्रीम कोर्ट ने कहा था-

“Before parting with this case we think it appropriate to observe that it is high time the Government reviews the entire policy relating to allotment of land to schools and other charitable institutions. Where the public property is being given to such institutions practically free, stringent conditions have to be attached with respect to the user of land and the manner in which schools are other institutions established their own self function. The conditions imposed should be consistent with public interest and should always stipulate that in case of violation of any of those conditions, the land shall be resumed by the Government. Not only such conditions should be stipulated but constant monitoring should be done to ensure that those conditions are being observerded in practice. While we cannot say anything about the particular school run by the respondent, its is common knowledge that some of the schools are being totally commercial lines. Huge amount are being charged by way of donations and fees. The question is whether there is any justification for allotting land at throw-away prices to such institutions. The allotment of land belonging to the people at practically no price is meant for serving the public interest, i.e, spread of education or other charitable purpose; it is not meant to enable the allottees to make money or profiteer with the aid of public property. We are sure that the Government would take necessary measures in this behalf in the light of the observations contained herein.”

Reference : Union of India and Another Vs Jain Sabha and Another

दिल्ली में सरकारी जमीन पर चल रहे करीब 450 स्कूलों में से 298 में एलॉटमेंट लेटर में सख्त शर्तें लगाई गई हैं। ये शर्तें प्रमुखत: फीस, एडमिशन, गरीब बच्चों को पढ़ाने से संबंधित हैं। सुप्रीम कोर्ट ने अप्रैल, 2004 में मॉर्डन स्कूल बनाम यूनियन ऑफ इंडिया के बहुचर्तित फैसले में दिल्ली सरकार के शिक्षा निदेशालय को आदेश देते हुए स्पष्ट शब्दों में कहा था कि शिक्षा निदेशक तीन महीने के अंदर यह सुनिश्चित करें कि एलॉटमेंट लेटर की शर्तों का ठीक से पालन हो।

“We are directing the Director of Education to look into letters of allotment issue by the Government and ascertain whether they have been complied with by the schools. The exercise shall be complied with within a period of three months from the date of communication of this judgment to the Director of Education. If in a given case, the Director finds non-compliance with the above terms, the Director shall take appropriate step in this regard.”

Reference : Modern School v Union of India.

इसी फैसले में आगे सुप्रीम कोर्ट ने ये भी साफ किया कि सरकारी जमीन लेने वाले स्कूल एलॉटमेंट लेटर की शर्तें पालन करने के लिए बाध्य हैं।

“So far as allotment of land by the Delhi Development Authority is concerned, suffice it to point out that the same has no bearing with the enforcement of the provisions of the Act and the Rules framed thereunder but indisputably the institutions are bound by the terms and conditions of allotment have been violated by the alottees, the appropriate statutory authorities would be at liberty to take appropriate step as is permissible in law.”

Reference : Modern School v Union of India.

सुप्रीम कोर्ट के इस फैसले को प्राइवेट स्कूलों ने चुनौती देते हुए रिव्यू अपील दाखिल की थी लेकिन रिव्यू अपील में भी सुप्रीम कोर्ट ने साफ कर दिया कि उपरोक्त आदेश नियमानुसार है और स्कूलों को उसका पालन करना ही होगा। रिव्यू अपील पर फैसले में सुप्रीम कोर्ट ने यहां तक कहा कि मॉर्डन स्कूल बनाम यूनियन ऑफ इंडिया के मामले में दिया गया आदेश दिल्ली स्कूल शिक्षा नियम 177 के प्रावधानों में गैप-फिलिंग के रूप में लिया जाए। यानी रूल 177 को ठीक से पालन करने की दिशा में ही यह आदेश दिया गया है।

“The additional directions given in the judgment of the majority vide para 27 in Modern School do not go beyond Rule 177 but they are part of gap-filling exercise and discipline to be followed by the Management. For example : every school shall prepare balance sheet and profit and loss account. Such conditions do not supplant Rule 177. If reasonable fee structure is the test then transparency and accountability are equally important. In fact, as can be seen from reports of Duggal Committee and the earlier Committee, excessive fees stood charged in some cases despite the 1973 Rules because proper accounting discipline was not provided for in 1973 Rules. Therefore, the further directions given are merely gap fillers. Ultimately, Rules 177 seeks transparency and accountability and the further directions (in para 27) merely bring about that transparency.”


जाहिर है देश की सर्वोच्च अदालत का मानना है कि जनता की अरबों रुपये की जमीन मुफ्त अथवा लगभग मुफ्त में लेकर चल रहे प्राइवेट स्कूलों को उस जनता के प्रति और जिम्मेदारी से काम करना होगा। इसके बाद कई और मामलों में प्राइवेट स्कूल इस आदेश से बचने के लिए दायें-बायें से हाई कोर्ट में जाते रहे हैं। लेकिन स्वयं दिल्ली हाई कोर्ट ने स्पष्ट कर दिया था कि संविधान के अनुच्छेद 141 के अनुसार सुप्रीम कोर्ट द्वारा निर्धारित कानून से अलग फैसला हाई कोर्ट द्वारा नहीं दिया जा सकता।

“So far as the question is concerned, Article 141 of the Constitution unequivocally indicates that law declared by Supreme Court shall be binding on all courts within territory of India.”

Reference : A. P. v. M.R. Apparao (2002)

इसके बाद दिल्ली सरकार द्वारा सभी प्राइवेट स्कूलों के लिए जारी नर्सरी एडमिशन गाइडलाइंस को खारिज करते हुए दिल्ली हाई कोर्ट ने व्यवस्था दी कि सरकार, प्राइवेट स्कूलों की स्वयत्तता बनाये रखे। इस फैसले को आधार बनाते हुए सरकारी जमीन पर चल रहे प्राइवेट स्कूलों ने फीस बढ़ाने के अधिकार को भी स्वायत्तता से जोड़ने की कोशिश की। लेकिन यहां एक बार फिर दिल्ली हाई कोर्ट ने साफ कर दिया कि सरकारी जमीन पर चल रहे प्राइवेट स्कूलों को अपनी फीस बढ़ाने से पहले सरकार से इजाजत लेनी होगी।
हाई कोर्ट ने यहां साफ किया कि सभी स्कूलों के संबंध में फीस तय करने के मामले में दिये गए स्वायत्तता बनाये रखने के फैसले को इन 298 स्कूलों की फीस बढ़ाने की स्वायत्तता से नहीं जोड़ा जा सकता। क्योंकि नर्सरी गाइडलाइंस फैसले में सरकारी जमीन पर चल रहे प्राइवेट स्कूलों की एलॉटमेंट शर्तों का विषय ही सब्जेक्ट में नहीं था।

“The issue regarding the liability of private unaided schools who are allotted the land at concessional rate by DDA was not the subject matter of the batch of petitions decided by the Division Bench.”

Reference : Justice for All v. Govt. (NCT of Delhi)

इसी तरह के एक फैसले में दिल्ली हाई कोर्ट ने इन प्राइवेट स्कूलों की यह दलील भी खारिज कर दी थी कि एलॉटमेंट लेटर की शर्तें लीज डीड में नहीं थीं। हाई कोर्ट ने जोर देकर कहा कि स्कूलों को डीडीए द्वारा निर्धारित एलॉटमेंट लेटर की शर्तें माननी ही होंगी।

“The terms and conditions of the letter of allotment empowered the authorities to add or impose such other conditions which the allottee was obliged to agree having taken benefit thereof. The terms and conditions of the Lease Deed certainly does not contain the condition of free treatment to poorer Sections of the Society but the same was part of the letter of all allotment itself and they would be applicable to the allotments mutatis mutandis particularly when there is no conflict between them and they duly are supplement to the each other.”


इतना ही नहीं, SOCIAL JURIST, A CIVIL RIGHT GROUP बनाम GOVT. OF NCT OF DELHI & ANOTHR मामले में दिल्ली हाई कोर्ट ने स्पष्ट रूप से कहा है कि शिक्षण संस्थानों को‘टीचिंग शॉप’ की तरह चलाने की अनुमति नहीं दी जा सकती।

“It is common knowledge that though the there is obligation on the State to provide free and compulsory education to children and the corresponding responsibility of the institution to afford the same, educational institution cannot be allowed to run as ‘Teaching Shops’ as the same would be detrimental to equal opportunity to children. This reality must not be ignored by the State while considering the observations made in this judgment. Hence, we only observe that to avail the benefit of the Right to Education Act to a child seeking for nursery school as well, necessary amendment should be considered by the State. We hope and trust that the Government may take the above observation in the right spirit and act accordingly.”

देखा जाए तो सुप्रीम कोर्ट के 2004 के आदेश के बाद तीन महीने के बाद से इन 298 स्कूलों में एलॉटमेंट लेटर की शर्तों के अनुसार ही नर्सरी एडमिशन की प्रक्रिया बनाई जानी चाहिए थी। लेकिन ऐसा नहीं हुआ कारण चाहे जो भी रहे हों। अब जबकि सरकार ने सुप्रीम कोर्ट के उस आदेश का पालन करते हुए गाइडलाइंस बनाई हैं तो इन 298 स्कूलों को इनका पालन करना चाहिए। हालांकि ये स्कूल, सुप्रीम कोर्ट के आदेश पर बनाई गई गाइडलाइंस को चुनौती देते हुए दिल्ली हाई कोर्ट में गए हैं।